Sri Sri Shivakumara Swamiji of Siddaganga mutt is well known for his simplicity, austerity and exemplary saintly life and attributes. He is a role model to all saints and people in Karnataka adore him as The Walking God.
At 109 he developed fever and jaundice due to obstruction of the common bile duct…all other parameters were astonishingly normal. However, he faced challenges like scoliosis, which was responsible for compromised lungs function and kyphotic deformity of the Neck. He carried a potential airway risk requiring intubation.
Surrounding the decision to treat him were complicating factors ranging from fear and uncertainty to accountability to his legion of devotees. We were answerable in many ways including to the state of Karnataka itself, the Swamiji being a Karnataka Rathna.
Convictions apart, an added challenge was to get all the stake holders to agree. Finally, our reverence for him proved to be an overpowering factor and led us down the path of meticulous execution.
We placed a stent elegantly into his bile duct, endoscopically drained the bile and effectively addressed all associated medical problems, which led to his dramatic recovery and soon enough the seer was back to his normal routine.
A year later as he celebrated his 110th birthday the symptoms returned. He became listless and was confined to bed. As expected the stent had developed an obstruction owing to enlargement of the gall bladder and hepatic and pancreatic ducts. Age apart, his frail condition meant that the seer had developed a certain degree of diffidence, which we had noticed earlier.
However, after adequate preparing him adequately for the calculated risk, we made another daring effort. The Swamiji agreed finally to be hospitalised and with his blessings our intervention was an extraordinary success.